The consumer electronics industry breathed a collective sigh of relief when the war between HD DVD and Blu-ray was won by Blu-ray. Another surrender ceremony was recently completed as Paramount announced that they are abandoning the HD DVD format once and for all. In fact, almost everyone is jumping ship. Best Buy has cleared out HD DVD discs to make more room for standard DVD and Blu-ray. Most manufactures have announced that that they will no longer produce HD DVD or even universal players beyond 2008. The entire industry hoped that in a single format world, sales would soar, prices would drop, and hummingbirds would sing songs of joy and happiness. But the question remains: did the war end too soon?
A report recently released by ABI Research points out an obvious fact: the current generation of Blu-ray players aren't yet capable of showcasing all the features promised by the Blu-ray specification. Features such as picture-in-picture and BD Live! are still not available on players. (Moreover, BD prices on both players and discs are still high for the average consumer, especially in tight economic times). Lacking the advanced features, savvy (and thrifty) consumers might not want to buy into Blu-ray, knowing they'll have to upgrade yet again when these features become more commonly available. For now, most Blu-ray sales can be attributed to players built into Sony's Playstation 3 gaming systems. Until features come up, and prices come down, should we really celebrate the end of the high-resolution DVD war? What exactly are we celebrating?—Leslie Shapiro
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